OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has reportedly secured funding for Worldcoin, his planned iris-scanning cryptocurrency.
As the Financial Times reported Sunday (May 14), sources with knowledge of the deal say Worldcoin is in talks to raise $100 million ahead of its launch, which comes amid a rough season for digital currencies.
“It’s a bear market, a crypto winter. It’s remarkable for a project in this space to get this amount of investment,” said one of the sources.
Founded in 2019 by Altman and Alex Blania, Worldcoin aims to use eyeball-scanning technology to launch a worldwide identification system that would let every person in the world access cryptocurrency.
Earlier this month, Worldcoin debuted a digital wallet it said was aimed at expanding the availability of digital identity and global finance. Designed for the Worldcoin ecosystem, the World App can be used to authenticate with World ID, get Worldcoin tokens and send digital money anywhere.
“World App is a different kind of wallet,” Worldcoin said in a blog post.
“It doesn’t support every token or functionality crypto has to offer, and it doesn’t expose every possible configuration. Instead, it is designed by TFH [Tools for Humanity] to focus on a handful of key functionalities for Worldcoin and Ethereum to keep things simple and familiar so anyone can use them.”
PYMNTS looked at the case for cryptocurrency in B2B payments recently in a conversation with Brendan Berry, head of payments products at enterprise crypto provider Ripple, who acknowledged the turbulence in his industry.
“What happened through 2022 was a lot of layoffs, companies going under and consumer losses,” he said. “We are coming out of that period with a healthy skepticism separating what was a large amount of hype and speculative investment driving bull market activity, from real companies and technologies solving real customer pain points.”
That healthy skepticism makes this an ideal time to be a “builder” in the space, Berry added.
Research in the PYMNTS report “Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Cross-Border Payments: Selecting a Blockchain Technology Partner” showed that while many businesses view blockchain payments technology as key to streamlining cross-border payments, more than half expressed concerns that it brings with it regulatory risks.
Berry told PYMNTS his company is focused on “enabling value to move at the speed of information,” stressing that many of crypto’s most long-lasting real-world utility benefits can be found within the payments space.
“There’s been significant adoption and interest from businesses [around using crypto to facilitate instantaneous cross-border transactions] that is only continuing to accelerate,” he said.